Auburn-West Virginia Post-Game Quotes

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AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Sept. 20, 2009

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Auburn Post-Game Quotes
Auburn vs. West Virginia
Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, September 19, 2009

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik

"First of all, I would like to say that I wish I had 87,000 game balls because our fans were a huge reason we won that game and I went them to know that. We had thousands of students (15,000) to stay here through that whole thing. Everybody came early and nobody left because of the weather, and I promise you that was one of the huge reasons we won the game and momentum swings happen because of our fans. We played a good football game tonight at times. I'm really, really proud of our football team because we had to overcome more adversity than probably we did in either of the previous two weeks. It is a sign of a football team that is believing and coming together when you can overcome some of that adversity. We are growing as a football team. We didn't play well tonight in so many ways, but we won the game, and at the end of the day, I am so proud of our guys because they had to fight and claw and scratch back to win it. That is who they were tonight."

On the turnovers
"The turnovers were the difference in the game. There is no question about it. That is a really, really good offense. We knew they were good. The wet field right now... we just weren't tackling well. I don't know if it was the wet field. I certainly don't want to make excuses. We weren't tackling well. That was the deal early in the game. That and the combination they are really good on offense. The difference to me was there was no question about it were the turnovers in the game were the huge momentum swing differences in the game. Obviously, we had five interceptions and those turnovers were huge and I think it changed the game."

On Jarrett Brown, West Virginia's quarterback
"There is no question. He is a great quarterback. We said all week the thing that makes him really, really explosive is not only does he have a great arm, not only does he have great accuracy with his throws, he has great scramble ability. On the first long throw that you saw, we had him wrapped up and blitzed him two or three times and missed him and some sloppy tackling. Again, he is a very good player, and I have to give him a lot of credit. Yes, when we had him bottled up, that's when obviously, we were cutting down on big plays."

On AU wide receiver Darvin Adams
"Darvin has really come on. Again, he had another good night tonight. We were proud, not just him but offensively when we need to have some big plays in there to get us back in the game and some momentum swings, he was obviously a part of a few of those."

On AU quarterback Chris Todd
"I think Chris obviously there were things in the game with the one interception. But, overall if you look at his performance right now, he had four touchdown passes. I am really proud of Chris because again when you look at those situations and things are not going well... there are a lot of times when the offense wasn't moving the football. You never looked in his eyes and saw anything but confidence and all he ever needed was another chance and he came back and delivered. I am really proud of his performance. He like the rest of the team have a long way to go."

On the win
"I think it is huge. No. 1 this was a really, really good football team. I wasn't sure exactly where we were at to be honest with you. I know that our execution on both sides of the football is not percentage wise where we want to be right now. I know that there are some things that we still need to get adjusted on some of our special teams units. What I did like tonight was I did see that our football team whatever the circumstances were against a really good team will fight and claw and scratch until the end to win it. I couldn't be more proud of our guys right now."

On Auburn
"I mean just the whole game. What I always like to do is I like to see their eyes. I want to see what they look like. I want to see what their body language looks like. It is really important for me be able to go over there to both sides of the ball and our special teams, and I want to see those guys eyes when the game is coming down to the end. I want to see who is ready to go and who doesn't have that far away look. I just told them with five minutes left in the game I told the defense, 'you are going to have to go out there two more times minimum and stop them, and that is just the way it is.' I was proud to see they did it."

On the hour delay to kickoff because of lightning and heavy rain and what did the team do during it
"I don't know. We both had the delay. We just kind of tried to stay loose and we stretched and relaxed and got our pads off when it became a long delay. Really we just tried to relax and stay focused on the game, but stay loose and stare at each other for a long time."

AUBURN PLAYERS

Neiko Thorpe, DB
On five team interceptions...
"The coaches emphasized that if we were able to come up with some turnovers, we were going to win this game. They said that if we were able to get four, the game would be won and we came away with five and it was a blessing."

On West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown...
"He is quick. You would think he has something on his jersey, the way he keeps slipping away. We just had to keep coming at them."

On the West Virginia receiving corps...
"They have nice-sized receivers at West Virginia, they are really good. Coming into this game, we knew they were going to be fast. We knew that if we came out and kept to the plan, we would shut them down and come out with the win."

Craig Stevens, LB
On his late interception return for a touchdown...
"We knew they were going to run a screen during that series. I knew once I came off the blitz and I did not feel anyone pick me up that it was going to be a screen. He ended up lobbing the ball and I tipped it. It fell back in my hands and I've always said that once it gets in my hands, I'm getting in the endzone."

On West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown...
"He is a great player. He is one of the best quarterbacks I have ever played against. He is so elusive back there. We could not get him down. It was hard to get him down by yourself, you had to rally at him."

On West Virginia running back Noel Devine...
"Everyone already knew about him. He is a great player - real fast. You have to be disciplined when you play against him. If anyone comes at him wrong, they are going to get exposed. In the first half, we were taking the wrong angles and we were missing every time. Toward the end of the game, we got more disciplined. They had to turn to the passing game."

On what this win means for the team...
"Our goal is to just take it game by game. We have a 12-round fight ahead of us and this was round three."

Chris Todd, QB
Overall thoughts...
"We knew coming out that these guys were really good and that this would be a tough matchup. We knew that there would be a lot of ups and downs during the game and that we were going to have to bring out best game. We did exactly that.

On mounting a comeback...
"Coach always talks about imposters during a game and we had to take them down with our will. We had to react to the situation and we always knew that we could come back from the deficit. We need to make a few adjustments out there and come out stronger next time."

On throwing for four touchdowns...
"We had some really good games running the ball for our last two games and West Virginia did a lot to take care of that. Because of their rushing pressure, we were able to put the ball in the air and put up some points."

Mario Fannin, RB
Overall thoughts...
"You know our student section stood up for us and our fans stood up for us. They were loud and they gave us the edge over West Virginia."

On 82-yard touchdown...
"I got some great blocks. Jay Wisner came down the field and gave me one. I had blocks set up down the field and I was about to really bust it."

On an emotional win...
"It's big. It helps us get some serious momentum going into the heart of the season. It really allowed us to see where we can get better because we made some big mistakes. But we were able to correct those mistakes and come out with a win."

Darvin Adams, WR
Overall thoughts...
"We did a good job as an offense putting together some big plays in the second quarter and into the second half. We had a lot of imposters like coach said and we were able to overcome them. Our offensive line did a great job with their blocking and allowed Ben Tate, Ontarrio and Mario to run the ball. Chris did a good job of controlling the offense and taking us down the field."

On scoring three touchdowns...
"It starts with the coaches and goes into trusting Chris to put the ball where it needs to be. Our offensive line did a great job of blocking and allowing Chris to do his thing."

On gaining momentum before halftime...
"It was crucial. You have to keep the crowd in the game and after that we were able to pound the ball a little more which gave us a big boost."

Jake Ricks, DL
Overall thoughts...
"We had a lot of mistakes but we finished. We've got to work on eliminating all the missed tackles. We had a lot of chances to bring the quarterback down but we weren't able to do that. We were able to get five interceptions though and those really kept us in the game. I think overall we played well and we were able to finish the game strong."

On defense posting five interceptions...
"I don't know, we just had guys in the right place at the right time. I caught one and I was just in the right place. We were able to put some good pressure on the quarterback, and our secondary was able to take care of the rest."

On holding West Virginia to nine second half points...
"We stayed together even when they went up 14-0. They got off to an early jump but we stayed together as a team. Nobody put their head down and we pushed through it."

HEAD COACH BILL STEWART

Opening Statement...
"We lost a very close game. A lot of pain in there. Not physical but mental. We are going to talk about mental in a couple of phases. I was very proud of the way our guys played a tough, physical football game. I thought it was a heck of a game. I thought both sides played physical. Both sides played hard and I'm glad we got that football game under our belt. It's over and we should have come out on top but we didn't. With that being said, there are a couple of reasons why we didn't come out on top. I wasn't pleased with the turnovers. We can't have five picks on a fumble. And I really wasn't pleased with the metal mistakes. What we call mental mistakes are what someone may call a physical mistake. Things like holding or chop block, I call that mental and that's what we call mental at West Virginia University. We know how to use our hands and use our feet and we know not to chop block. We do not teach illegal tactics like chop block. I look at stats, but that was a heck of an offensive showing. The defensive coaches are probably pulling their hair out but that was a tough game. I was very impressed at how hard and how physical we played, particularly on the road for the first time. We have a young offensive line, we all know that. They battled and they played tough. We have a young secondary mostly safeties, we know that. I was pleased at the way they played but you cannot make mistakes. I have a bunch of heavy hearts in there (locker room) it starts off with me, the staff, and the players and everyone else involved. It was not fun to lose but I am proud of our effort."

On concentrating on the run...
"They got a little hot on us and they made some nice plays. That last touchdown pass, you know I do special teams, and more on the offense, but I saw they jammed their wide receiver. Our safety(Robert Sands) almost got to it. It was a nice throw. When they stretch you horizontally, which they did, we had a nice jam, and I thought we had a chance to intercept it."

On quarterback Jarrett Brown's injury...
"He is good. He just got whacked sideways. It wasn't anything like (Oklahoma QB Sam) Bradford's injury. He got body slammed, he is fine. I was going to put the young guy (Geno Smith) in anyhow."

On quarterback Jarrett Brown forcing too much on the interception...
"He's in his third game that he has started. Eighty plays, 500 yards, 32:50 time of possession and it just aches. Kicking game and kick off return, we stuffed them. I thought we were going to break the gates two or three times. I was really pleased with our special teams."

On Auburn speeding up the tempo...
"It was a pretty fast game, you don't get that anymore. We were 10-of-15 on third down and I was tired of hearing about third downs. They were 9-of-18."

On the biggest drive in the second quarter...
"When the ballgame was 21-10 and he (Brown) threw that pick. If he wouldn't have thrown that, its 28-10 right there and we still came back. Missed the extra point. Freshman, Big East player of the week missed the extra point, he didn't mean to miss it but he missed it. I don't know how, maybe the hold, maybe the snap, I am not going to shoot anybody. I love them dearly and they played hard. Tough environment, which is good. We have been down this road a couple of times. We have played in a few arenas. I told the team that this will help us down the road. This will help the Mountaineer football program. It didn't help us tonight, but Gene (Chizik) and his staff did a nice job."

On what the team did during the rain delay...
"I told a few jokes. I did not know what to do. We were not going to go out there and get scorched. That lightning, we don't mess with that and I am so glad that is the way college football is. It was the right thing to do and it did not hurt us. I remember, I told the guys back in the old days we used to go out in the rain and start hitting. For the young people, you do not know what I am talking about, but all you older guys know."

Closing Statement...
"I appreciate the coaches and players. I appreciate Auburn and I appreciate the opportunity to come down here. I really want to tell you one more time, I am not pleased, I am not happy and I am not overjoyed. But, I am somewhat OK with the way the Mountaineers came and played their hearts out tonight. We have got to play smarter. We have to play tougher, mentally. We have 12 days to get ready. We have to work. We will go full pads and hit and that is what we are going to do. Thank you and God bless."

WEST VIRGINIA PLAYERS

Bradley Starks, WR
Overall thoughts on the game...
"The turnovers definitely hurt us. Our hats off to Auburn, they played a heck of a game. They made plays when it counted the most."

On the crowd at the end of the game...
"It was real noisy. Don't get me wrong, 87,000 people, that's a loud one when they are all in one place cheering."

J. T. Thomas, LB
The atmosphere in the locker room...
"Everyone is a little disappointed. We had a great week of practice and we were prepared for this game. We kind of beat ourselves and we were the better team. We did not come up with a victory and it just hurts knowing that you were the better team. I am not saying that Auburn is not a great team, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot."

On letting the game slip away...
"This one got away from us. It just hurts because we had a great week of practice. We had a good plan and we just did not come up with the victory and it hurts."

On learning from the loss...
"You can grow from every loss and you can grow from wins, too. Looking back at the game, you can get better at some things. I think the main thing tonight was miscommunication. You have to make sure you are on the same page so you don't give them anything."

On stopping Auburn's rushing attack...
"We did what we planned to do. We contained the rush. We did not stop it totally, but we contained it. We put them in the situation we wanted them to be in and we just did not execute."

Najee Goode, MLB
On the environment...
"It doesn't really affect me. You have to just come out play. The crowd was amazing we like it when it gets real loud like that but we have to just play better.

On problems executing...
"We made a few mental mistakes on offense and defense. It will happen here and there. They executed on a few of them and got points on them, We need to get better."

On giving up big plays via the passing game...
"We had guys in the wrong spot, we just have to make plays. I know I could've made some. Both sides of the ball need to be better mentally."

Josh Taylor, DT
On Auburn's offense...
"It was real tough to play against. Their running game was really complicated. I thought we did pretty good with our running scheme to try to contain them, but I missed on a couple of pass rushes. I wasn't always able to get back to the line, but I needed to be disruptive and complicate things for them. I should've gotten my hands up into the passing lanes."

On getting a start at Jordan-Hare as a walk-on...
"This was my first start, so there were some nerves, but after the first play they went away. After the first play I settled down and did what I had to do. Auburn is a great football team, they have a great stadium and a great crowd. I am just happy to be in the situation that I was in."

On what West Virginia can take away from the contest...
"I learned a lot from this game. It is a real different pace, with this being my first away game. When you're running around out there the crowd can really get to you, but you have to go out there, block it out and just play the game."